Marko: This Verstappen could put Haas in first place!
How much does it depend on the car and how much does it depend on the driver? Helmut Marko is convinced that Max Verstappen’s superiority this year is largely down to his individual skills.
Red Bull and Max Verstappen destroyed everyone in the first half of the 2023 F1 season. The team has more than double the number of points owned by second-placed Mercedes, and the defending champion is ahead of his teammate Sergio Perez by 125 points. Opinions are divided on whether this is more Red Bull dominance or Max Verstappen dominance. Juan Pablo Montoya recently said that seven or eight drivers would be world champions in this year’s RB19, while another former driver, Marc Surer, for example, attributes the current supremacy to Verstappen.
“Yes, he’s in the best car, but the best car isn’t as superior as Max makes it out to be.” – declared the Swiss, then highlighted that the 1988 McLaren, whose record of consecutive victories was broken by Red Bull, had a much greater advantage, as “at most not a single car took a lap of it” in the races that season.
According to Red Bull advisor Helmut Marko, many people are underestimating what Max Verstappen is already offering this year. German Motorsport-TotalIn an interview, the expert went so far as to say that Verstappen’s superiority as a competitor would be striking even in weaker cars.
“Max will mean a different level in every car. The 2020 Max cannot be compared to the 2023 Max except for the identity of the name. It has gained amazing confidence.” – said the Austrian.
“For me, the master of Reading Racing has always been Hamilton in terms of tire placement. Max, on the other hand, has really reached his level. Maybe better than him because he’s mainly faster. He’s found an amazing way to handle the rubber.”
Marko believes Red Bull’s dominance this year will hide Verstappen’s progress rather than actually show it. According to the consultant, their champion could cause serious upsets with weaker cars – for example, in drying track conditions as we saw several times in qualifying sessions before the summer break.
“In those conditions, give him an AlphaTauri or Haas, a real-time concept car, and he will be in front!”
He added that this kind of brilliance would not be satisfactory for the Dutchman in the long term. “It’s hard to say how long his motivation will last if he’s fighting AlphaTauri. Max is different. One day he’ll say: Thank you, that’s all!” He thought.